- Previously considered a low-yield flowering plant, autoflowering Cannabis is now engineered to produce buds that measure up to 28% in pure THC levels.
- “You can go from seed to harvest in under ten weeks,” says well seasoned Cannabis grower Mike Willhauck.
Over a decade ago a tiny strain called The Lowryder quietly changed the world of cannabis cultivation, and nobody noticed. This tiny plant introduced autoflowering marijuana to the world, which flowers on its own, as opposed to traditional ‘photoperiod’ cannabis which only flowers when exposed 12-hours of darkness a day.
The problem was The Lowryder didn’t produce high-quality weed. It was a novelty, mere toy cannabis, fun to play with, but nobody would seriously cultivate such a wimpy strain. Other early autoflowers failed to impress as well. The lesson seemed clear: Anybody serious about cannabis should stick with tried and true photoperiodic varieties.
However, things have changed. Over the past decade, dedicated breeders and growers have created autoflower strains and growing techniques to rival their photoperiod cousins. After ten-plus years as an also-ran, autoflowering cannabis is ready to take center stage.
Autos Hit the Big Time
Early autoflowers produced weak yields of low-THC buds, but years of R&D have given us modern autoflower strains, like Gorilla Glue Auto from the pioneering Cali-Cannabis themed seed bank, Fast Buds, which can yield 1 kilo of ultra-potent flower in half the growing time of a photoperiodic plant. Mike Willhauck, AKA @bangdangbuds, a popular auto grower on Instagram, told us, “When autos first came out, they were lacking in potency and were very small. After years of evolution, we’re at a point where the difference is nearly indistinguishable when comparing a photoperiod bud to an autoflowering bud. Autos from specific breeders have consistently broken the 20% THC content mark and have been recorded as high as 28%.”
Easy to Grow
Modern autoflowers can rival photoperiodic cannabis in both yield and potency, but that’s not all they have to offer. They’re fast growing, hardy, and perfect for novices and master growers alike. “You can go from seed to harvest in under ten weeks, and if you pay close attention you can obtain very respectable yields in many cases comparable to the photoperiod variety,” says Willhauck.
JM, an urban outdoor grower in the Mediterranean told us, “In one outdoor growing season you can get three harvests from April to September. You can do your first grow from March to May, a second from May to July, and a third from July to September.”
Indoor growers can capitalize on this fast-growing as well. Since autos in flower can be exposed to the same light schedule as those still vegging, growers with limited space in their homes can stagger their grows to harvest every month. The autoflower community calls this, “the perpetual harvest.”
“[You can harvest] as often as your perpetual schedule and space let you. My…